U.S. Is Reducing Safety Penalties for Mine Flaws - New York Times: "In its drive to foster a more cooperative relationship with mining companies, the Bush administration has decreased major fines for safety violations since 2001, and in nearly half the cases, it has not collected the fines, according to a data analysis by The New York Times.
Larry Williams was injured in a 2002 collapse in West Virginia.
Federal records also show that in the last two years the federal mine safety agency has failed to hand over any delinquent cases to the Treasury Department for further collection efforts, as is supposed to occur after 180 days.
F. Brian Ferguson for The New York Times"
The rest of the article goes on to describe that miners near Rupert (a town with a GREAT classic county music station, btw) were in a roof fall. One was killed and one trapped for four hours. What horrified me is that they were using the technique called "pillaring," in which miners save columns of coal to be used as roof supports. Then, when they have mined the section, they go back and mine the coal from the pillars. It's a roof fall waiting to happen, and I thought it was illegal. Maybe they've made it legal again, or maybe the illegality was just a regulation (with a fine that may oremay not have been enforced).
This is what happens when you get Republicans in charge of the MSHA that want to foster a closer relationship with the industry.
May God forgive us all.